We cannot rest

This week marks the countdown to the global climate strike demonstration on Friday September 20th, 2019. In a series of blogs, developmenteducation.ie will be marking the week with youth-led contributions as part of a growing movement of school students and adults taking action on climate issues.

Grainne O’Sullivan, a secondary school student from Bray, gave the opening address at the Climate Emergency Rally at Merrion Square in Dublin on May 24, 2019.

Ireland becomes the second country to declare a climate emergency’ – the headline that we have been pushing for, for months. But what is the government actually doing to put that statement into action?

Why did it take them this long? Were we waiting for another country to take the first step?

Now that we have followed the UK we need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for the targets we have not and will not meet.

We need to place our hand on the steering wheel alongside the UK and set examples for other countries and the global south who are the least responsible but face the worst consequences.

Why is it that these governments know what those consequences mean and what they will do to our planet, and yet the governments don’t act?

I am lucky enough to know about these threats thanks to sustainability classes in my school, but others are not. And as it is all of our futures, everyone has a right to know what the threats are rather than sitting blindly in the dark not knowing the drastic changes that are happening and will happen to our planet.

We cannot rest, because the government have finally declared a climate emergency.

We cannot rest, now that a few politicians realise we are serious.

We cannot rest, because a small minority have taken notice and are listening with one ear.

We cannot rest until this world is sustainably powered. Until you can walk down the road without seeing plastic bottles littering our paths. Until our world doesn’t need a climate emergency.

So, our government, I speak to you now. Don’t let the responsibility fall to us. We are doing and we have done the little things that help, but that is no longer enough. All of this individual action is not going to solve this crisis. So pull up your socks, because we have.

Listen to us. Meet our demands. Pave the way for other countries.

All of you, everyone, my age, younger and older, will be able to go to college and ‘worry about exams’ and ‘not have to worry about climate change’ until after we finish college. It will not matter as your inaction as governments will have made our problems so much worse. Because our twelve years will be up.